Corsets Part 1: The Parts Of A Corset

Corsets are among my favorite items of clothing. They were originally designed to be undergarments that shaped women’s bodies for the fashions of the times. Now, they are mostly considered an attractive form of outerwear. I think they’re usually absolutely gorgeous but also complicated as far as clothing goes. Here’s a brief overview of the different structural parts of a corset.

Boning-Ribs-Stays

Plastic Boning

These are stiff parts that are often inserted around the sides of the corset. Plastic is the most common material used today. However, stronger corsets generally have boning made of spring steel.

Busk

Busk

An additional stiff element placed in the center front of a corset. Originally it was a piece intended to keep the front of the corset straight. The busk later evolved into two metal strips with fastenings on them. This makes it easier for the wearer to don and remove the corset. It is much more convenient to remove the corset by simply unhooking the front rather than loosening the laces enough to pull it over the head.

Laces

Lacing

This is how the corset is tightened. They are generally located in the back though this is not always necessarily the case; they can also be located in front or down the sides. Laces down the sides makes it a bit easier to get into and out of the corset without the help of a buddy.  Depending on the style of corset, they can be laced from the top down, the bottom up, and from the top and bottom to the center. Tightening and loosening the laces change the way the corset fits.

Check back for Part 2: The Evolution of the Corset.

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